Grant Thornton in its latest International Business Report (IBR), a quarterly global business survey, has stated that India slipped to the 6th position in the business optimism index for the first quarter of 2018. It added that the business sentiment in the country was 'weakest' since 2014. It also said that the confidence has been shaken since the third quarter of 2017 with weakness in Indian rupee and a surge in oil prices. However, globally, the business optimism is at an all-time high, with index at net 61 percent, the highest figure recorded in 15 years of research.
As per the report, India is at the sixth place in the index with a score of 89, while the top five nations are Austria, Finland, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the US. In respect of India, it said that the underlying pessimism is reflected in other parameters as well including revenue, selling prices, profitability, employment and exports expectations. Indian businesses have been citing regulations and red tape, availability of skilled workforce, lack of ICT infrastructure and shortage of finance as the biggest growth constraints. The report conclusion was based on a quarterly global business survey of 2,500 businesses in 37 economies.
The IBR noted that even after India's significant jump in World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking, the country still continues to rank 1st or 2nd in quoting these reasons as the key hurdles for growth. Grant Thornton India LLP CEO Vishesh C Chandiok has said that the reversal in sentiment amongst mid- sized business in India in the last three quarters is startling and hoped that policy makers would sit up and take note. He added that 'With oil climbing, and India firmly in an election year, we ought to brace for a volatile economic environment in the days ahead. Export oriented businesses should see better days'.